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kottke.org posts about Zenyatta

Zenyatta’s last race

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 09, 2010

With a record of 19-0, Zenyatta was a favorite to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic. As her jockey eased her into the top of the stretch, she was dead last. Right where she wanted to be.

Her owners, Jerry and Ann Moss; her trainer, John Shirreffs; and for that matter anyone who had watched and loved the great racemare Zenyatta knew that the real running — the edge-of-the-seat-drama — really didn’t start until she turned for home. Nineteen times before, Zenyatta had looked desperate and in trouble at the top of the stretch. Nineteen times before, she had found a gear to rocket past her rivals in the final strides.

So when jockey Mike Smith cornered the big girl and squared her shoulders toward the finish line in dead last, the more than 72,000 people here at Churchill Downs rose to their feet and held their breath. Zenyatta not only had 11 horses to pass, she also had a dozen or so lengths to make up.

And here’s video of the race, just in case you thought that story was too good to be true.

(via big picture)